The volume of relevant, high-quality inbound links – links from one site that point to another – plays a major role in your ranking at the search engines. Accepted and effective SEO processes for building this volume have changed a great deal over the years. Knowing what works, what can hurt your ranking and what the search engines look for is a major consideration in any optimization strategy.
At one time, common belief held that the best way to get a site noticed was through banner or link exchanges (long, long time ago). As the novelty wore off, site owners found little improvement in their traffic and search engines found little value when ranking listings.
The next big ‘thing’ was services promising thousands of links pointing to your site from around the web. Unfortunately, this was done through free-for-all link farms and convuluted cross-linking schemes, all of which provided nothing but low-quality, irrelevant garbage links. The practice has since been relegated to black hat SEO (frowned upon by the search engines and potentially damaging to your visibility)
So, how do you go about developing a robust volume of links that actually have value? The operative words for a link building strategy that works are relevancy and quality. In other words, focusing your attention on sites related to your topic or industry is of greater value than randomly building links on sites that have nothing to do with your focus. If you run a car dealership, for example, twenty unrelated links are of considerable less value than a single inbound link from a high ranking related website (an auto manufacturer, for instance).
Once you are clear on your target niche for link building, there are a number of options available - social bookmarking (sites like Digg and Stumbleupon, for instane), social networking (getting involved in sites like Twitter and Facebook, for example), blogging, content distribution among others, are extremely.